These Are Your Favorite Car Ads

These Are Your Favorite Car Ads

Maybe you didn't immediately go out and buy a new car, but you sure wanted to after these

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We asked, and you answered. Here are your picks for the ten best, most impactful, or most memorable car ads you’ve ever seen. Some of these, honestly, I wish I’d come up with in the question. Let’s see them.

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Michael Bay’s Chevy Car Carrier

Michael Bay’s Chevy Car Carrier

Ironically, in both cases the coolest car in the ad is not any of the ones they are trying to sell.

As a designated Insufferable Film Dude, I’m legally obligated to include this one on the list. So many of Bay’s stylistic hallmarks are here: The boosted colors, the orange lighting, the fast paced cuts. Every single shot is full of motion, with layers of parallax wherever possible. Say what you will about him as a filmmaker, but the man knows how to make an ad.

Suggested by: V10omous

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Volkswagen’s Un-Pimp Your Ride

Volkswagen’s Un-Pimp Your Ride

Unpimp Ze Auto

Back in the halcyon mid-aughts, Volkswagen truly went wild with their ad campaigns. You can carbon-date this campaign from the (now-archived) MySpace page for its co-star, Helga.

Fun fact: I learned to drive stick in this era GTI. There was one for sale on eBay, in retrospect an incredibly sketchy deal, that I didn’t end up buying. The seller let me learn on it anyway.

Suggested by: Unacceptably Dry Scones

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Farmer for Ram Trucks

Farmer for Ram Trucks

My grandpa was a farmer, and I used to ride around with him sometimes. He almost never missed Paul Harvey. I remember seeing this ad and feeling all of it. I don’t think I’ve ever had an ad draw out such an emotional response. Though grandpa did like GM trucks.

I drive a Ram now even though I’m not a farmer. I can’t say that this ad didn’t influence that decision at least on a subconscious level.

The Farmer ad is so simple: Still images, flashing by, paired with Paul Harvey’s God Made a Farmer speech. That simplicity, though, is powerful here. This isn’t the last time we’ll see Ram on this list, but it’s the most poignant ad of the bunch.

Suggested by: Bo Darville

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Grounded To The Ground

Grounded To The Ground

If you don’t agree with me we can still be friends, but I’ll seriously question your judgment.

What qualifies this as one of the best car ads of all time is the memorable use of real people, who are apparently not real car people, talking about the Camry like the next Enzo.

“Grounded to the ground”, changed the world.

PrinceGnarls, presumably heir to the Barkley fortune, brings up a good point with Toyota’s infamous Grounded To The Ground ad: it was memorable. Sure, we joke about it, but we’ve never forgotten it. That counts for a lot in advertising.

Suggested by: PrinceGnarls

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Nissan Plays With Toys

Nissan Plays With Toys

Nissan reportedly spent $200 million on this campaign, only to be sued by Mattel for copyright infringement. While I can’t seem to find any information confirming whether the Toys ad was stop-motion or computer generated, I can confirm that Van Halen’s cover of You Really Got Me still absolutely whips.

Suggested by: smalleyxb122

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The Cog

The Cog

Speaking of lawsuits, The Cog must be one of the most famous car ads in history. Despite the lawsuit from artists claiming Honda’s ad agency (Weiden+Kennedy, more on them later) ripped off their work, the ad is still commonly cited as one of the greatest car ads of all time.

Suggested by: Unacceptably Dry Scones, Magnum_STR8

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8 / 12

The Ford SportKa Evil Twin

The Ford SportKa Evil Twin

The UK Ford Ka commercials from the late 90's. “Here kitty, kitty!!”

I went back and forth on whether this should be included. Judging by the response it garnered, it can’t be the best ad of all time — Generally, when your own agency (howdy, Weiden+Kennedy) disavows the work and claims it should never have been released, you don’t exactly have an all-time great on your hands.

But, this ad persevered. Response to the campaign (both the pigeon and another ad, which I don’t believe should be linked here) was so negative that it became a case study on brand associations in advertising. This ad was an actual case study I looked at in marketing college. It’s still out there, making the rounds, to this day.

Suggested by: MaximilianMeen

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9 / 12

Twister (1996)

Twister (1996)

Twister, 1996. Best 2 hour Dodge commercial ever made.

I told you we’d see more Ram Trucks on this list. Twister may not meet the traditional criteria of “being an advertisement” but it’s also absolutely an advertisement for Ram. One that worked, since I still find that era Ram to be one of the best looking trucks in history.

Also, as a reminder, this movie had both Alan Ruck and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. I think I’m due for a rewatch.

Suggested by: @flufferbot01 on Twitter

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Chevy - Like A Rock

Chevy - Like A Rock

BOB SEGER and Chevy Trucks

This is the car ad equivalent of Bill Pullman’s speech from Independence Day. I would be shocked if it wasn’t cited as an inspiration for Ram’s Farmer ad above. You don’t really get truck ads like this, now that all trucks are hyper-expensive luxury sedan replacements. What a shame.

Suggested by: the_AUGHT

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The Karmann Ghia Isn’t The Most Powerful

The Karmann Ghia Isn’t The Most Powerful

This Karmann Ghia ad might be the one that was the best video take on DDB’s print ads, although the “how the snowplow driver gets to work” is a pretty good one too.

This really is the self-deprecating Volkswagen ad perfectly transposed to video. It’s the kind of sight gag that wouldn’t really work in the print ads, but it plays out perfectly here.

Suggested by: Maymar

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